Pesco and EU defence co-operation

Sir, – Barry Andrews is at pains to portray Pesco as separate from full defence integration at EU level ("EU defence co-operation is no threat to Irish neutrality", Opinion & Analysis, January 3rd). But his point is surely contradicted by the president of the European Commission who stated that Pesco "lays the foundations for a European defence union". The EU's high representative for foreign affairs backed this up by stating that "in practice it is the foundation of a future European defence", chiming with numerous supporters of a common EU defence who have welcomed Pesco's establishment. It would be better if the Institute of International and European Affairs simply stated this so that we can have a full and proper debate on Ireland's place "at the heart of Europe" and all the obligations that this will entail. – Yours, etc,